New season on tap for community chorus

MIDDLEBURY — The Middlebury College Community Chorus announces a new season to prepare for its annual spring concert, slated for performance on campus on the afternoon of Mother’s Day, May 8. Regular rehearsals are Tuesday and Sunday evenings from 7-8:30 p.m. in Mead Chapel, beginning Feb. 16.
This season’s program includes a mix of classical choruses alongside arrangements of traditional songs and new works. The choir will prepare the “Magnificat” by Baroque composer Antonio Vivaldi. Its 10 sections contain a variety of choral styles, with dramatic shifts in textures and harmonies that bring life to the words of Mary, sung when she learned she would become the mother of the Messiah, according to the Gospel of Luke.
A portion of the program includes unique choral arrangements of lullabies from Africa; a new work by American composer Daniel Elder, simply titled “Lullaby”; and the beautiful “Seal Lullaby,” on a text by Rudyard Kipling, by the noted contemporary composer Eric Whitacre.
The chorus welcomes the change of seasons and flowering of spring with a new setting of the classic Robert Burns text “A Red, Red Rose” by Nashville composer Kevin Memley; “Los Bilbilicos” (“The Nightingales”), a Ladino (Judeo-Spanish) Sephardic song arranged by distinguished Vermont conductor Robert De Cormier; “Enjura,” a Ugandan song that depicts the coming of the rains; a popular Israeli romantic song, “Erev Shel Shoshamin,” that tells how night falls slowly while the winds carry the scent of roses; and a brand new setting, by Wisconsin composer Zachary Moore, of Alfred Lord Tennyson’s text “There Is Sweet Music Here.”
Conductor Jeff Rehbach notes that this program will offer singers the opportunity to explore the music of a new generation of American composers — born between 1970 and 1992 — and their expressive writing for chorus and piano, as well as a variety of choral styles from across the globe. Rehbach continues in his 16th season as director of the College Community Chorus, and Timothy Guiles returns as the choir’s virtuoso accompanist.
The choir welcomes all interested singers to join the ensemble before the end of February. Participants should plan to attend at least one rehearsal each week. Numbering nearly 100 singers, the group is open without audition or mandatory fees to all singers who can follow a musical score. Its members travel from throughout the region to participate in this 150-year-old community tradition, hosted by Middlebury College.
For up-to-date information, check on the web at or contact director Jeff Rehbach at 989-7355.

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